BA of the Week: Comedian David Heti
Every week we feature a different person from the community shedding a little light on their life of brokeitude. Who knows, maybe you’ll learn something about the human spirit — probably not.
Wanna be a Broke-Ass of the Week? Holler at us here and we’ll send you the questionnaire.
David Heti is a stand-up comic. Often thought of and described as a darker Woody Allen who doesn’t give a fuck what the audience thinks, it may be a little bit true. He’s performed at festivals across North America and just this summer he was named one of North by North East’s Twelve funny people to laugh at (or with) at NXNE. He’s got an unusually awkward, uncomfortable and honest podcast, I Have a Problem, With David Heti, and a terrifically intimate web series, What Went Wrong With Last Night’s Show.
On August 31st he boarded a night bus in Toronto. Now he pays rent in Brooklyn.
Now let’s see how he endures our grueling questions:
Name: David Heti
Occupation: Stand-up comic
What neighborhood do you live in?: Fort Greene
Best money saving tip: Lower your expectations. (The greatest wealth is a poverty of desires, so said Seneca.) Cultivate a uniform. Don’t live in New York.
What do you refuse to spend money on?: Foreplay.
Most expensive thing you’ve ever bought: I suppose you could say a pair of law degrees, although they were, in some sense, also earned. Maybe the bank bought them? Either way, they’re out there.
How’d that feel?: Bewildering, mostly; perhaps also ultimately, too, I fear. I think the thing is that first there was a sense that life was supposed to begin on some sort of a linear path towards ever more linearality. What ended up happening was that all of these other doors started appearing to open up—or at least half-way, theoretically—but then my turning away from them made everything else even that much more difficult.
Favorite cheap eat: I used to do what I could to enjoy a Bagel World bagel on Dekalb. It got to a point, though, where I simply had to say some something about how they applied the butter (i.e. so carelessly). Of course, my comments weren’t received in the spirit in which they were offered. I no longer go there.
Favorite dive bar: I’m new to NYC, but I like Williamsburg’s Charleston. With the order of a beer you can get a pizza for a buck. Part of the discomfort is trying to understand why supposedly the bartender ought to be tipped, but not necessarily the man by the oven. In Toronto though perhaps not especially divey—I prefer The Communist’s Daughter.
Best deal you’ve ever gotten: I’m not sure really if this counts, but once a Czech put me up for about a week when I was in France. It was late at night in the town’s central plaza and I was remarkably honest when he asked me how I was doing. We would go the beach, he would show me his friends, and I’d buy more than my share of the bread and beer or wine.
Favorite free thing to do: Stand-up comedy. No. Going with a book to a park where teenagers play baseball in uniforms is nice. You take that sport so very seriously here. I enjoy listening to the dugout infighting.
If you woke up a millionaire, what’s the first thing you’d buy?: Oh my god, I would get another bottle of that exfoliant I misplaced, then, an amazing sandwich, although probably the sandwich would come first. I would want a tiny little apartment to myself, either here or in Montreal, and then I’d just sit there and it would be white all around.
Despite not having money, do you still love your life?: You know, probably not right now, although I do kind of feel just a little better when thinking about the question. Most of my time these days is spent waking up hours before my alarm is supposed to go off and then thinking too much or even worrying. Of course, though, this is a period of transition, possibly, so I accept that.
Do you own my book?: I might! Is it in my body? Most of what I own is in my body.
Best hangover cure: Picking up off the floor the/a t-shirt and jeans from last night, putting them on and indulging in whatever breakfast is nearest located and most indulgent. Whether it be a plate of eggs or even just coffee and a croissant, you’re likely to feel just that much cooler in or with your self-harm.
Are you a hipster?: No, I don’t think so. I’ve never been a hipster—or so I believe—but I can’t imagine this is what goes through their respective heads.